The recent PlayStation 5 showcase stream was interrupted for viewers on Twitch by the platform’s new midroll ads, demonstrating why streamers and viewers alike are so upset about the new system. Sony’s stream was packed with news about next-gen games and finally revealed the price and release date of the PS5.
On September 14th, Twitch announced a new automated system that would periodically run midroll ads on streamers’ channels without their input. The midroll ads only target specific viewers, so not every viewer will experience a surprise ad at the same time. The stream will be muted and will appear in a small window in the top right corner of the screen for the duration of the ads. Twitch tried to soften this news by selling it as a new way to support creators, but even the platform’s largest personalities were not happy and asked if there was a way to opt out of the new program. The announcement was turned into a meme as a flurry of doctored clips were interrupted by ads right before a climactic moment. Little did they know, these memes were about to become a reality.
Affiliate Twitch streamer SmilinDominator posted a clip from his stream to Twitter showing the midroll ads in action. SmilinDominator was hosting a viewing party of the PlayStation 5 showcase event when the stream was interrupted by a midroll ad for the Amazon Original movie Get Duked!. Dom was enjoying the reveal of the upcoming Harry Potter game, Hogwarts Legacy, before the ad appeared unannounced and took over the screen. The streamer began to shout before sitting in disappointed silence until the ad ended.
This serves as the perfect example as to why unplanned midroll ads are a bad idea. The PS5 Showcase packed several reveals within a 40-minute time slot with some reveals lasting less than two minutes. A midroll ad like this could cause a viewer to miss an entire reveal, or a miss an important portion of a reveal. If anything, this clip shows that Twitch needs to revise its new automated ads, or better yet, get rid of them entirely.
Twitch is already flooding its platform with advertisements, and unplanned ads randomly dispersed through a stream won’t make the viewing experience any more enjoyable. Viewers already have to watch an ad or two when entering a stream, and partnered streamers who are under a contract have to run so many per stream to keep up with their quota. Amazon is out to make a quick buck any way it can, but this is not an acceptable option.
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